After toppling two nationally ranked teams in its first day of the 2019 season Friday, the Hillsdale College softball team continued the gauntlet known as the NFCA Leadoff Classic Saturday in Clearwater, Florida.
The Chargers dropped to 2-2 on the season with losses to the University of Indianapolis (10-3) and No. 3-ranked North Georgia (6-3). The team wraps up play at this elite early-season tournament Sunday morning against Eckerd.
Saturday's first game against the Greyhounds, a top-10 team in 2017, featured a somewhat deceiving final score. The game was tied 3-3 going into the bottom of the fifth inning after Natalie Walters doubled home Sam Catron.
UIndy responded with a seven-run fifth inning - all of them unearned runs - to break the game open.
Senior Katie Kish and Catron each had two-hit games for the Chargers, while Walters was 1-for-2 with two runs batted in. Senior Jessica Taylor added a run scored and a double while freshman Anna Dixon doubled in her first collegiate at bat.
In game two, Hillsdale faced North Georgia, a team that went 62-4 last year and spent much of the 2018 season ranked No. 1 in Division II. It's likely the Chargers won't face a more talented team than this one the rest of the regular season.
Hillsdale was down just 2-0 going into the sixth when North Georgia tallied three runs to extend its lead. All three of the Chargers' runs came in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sophomore Emma Johnson scored off a throwing error to get the team on the board. Sydney San Juan and Madison Rathbun added RBI grounouts for Hillsdale in the final frame.
Kish had a hit for the fourth time in four games. Walters and Johnson recorded the other two hits for the Chargers in the loss.
PHOTO: Carly Gouge